We've all seen the Facebook and Blog posts of the gorgeous homeschool rooms complete with handmade furniture and lovely wall hangings that are sure to inspire learning and creativity in our little ones. I admit that each year I look forward to drooling over these picturesque rooms and I imagine how much easier homeschooling must be when you have a room dedicated to knowledge and wisdom. "One day", I whisper to myself as I dream of my children discovering something fascinating via osmosis of this lovely room while another child creates a world famous masterpiece from the organic homemade paints they pull from the art closet. All of this happens while I read aloud from a favorite book and sip on my mug of coffee....This is the little dream that I keep tucked away in my homeschooling mamas heart.
We live in a cozy farmhouse of only 960 square feet with my sister and brother-in-law....4 cats, 2 dogs, a ball python, and a tarantula! Thankfully the chickens, goats and cows are all at the barn and in the pastures. Trust me when I say how much we adore being in this tiny house. Being here means we are living on the farm with people we love and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Our children share a room now. This has been a huge adjustment for them. We have had to downsize in an extreme way. There is no extra closet for art supplies or anything else for that matter. Space is limited to say the least. So, how do we homeschool without a school room and in such close quarters?
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When working with a small space it is critical to be organized. Here are my three essential organizational tools...
- Storage Containers: I have several storage containers that fit directly under our beds. These hold our most used items like art supplies, paper, and binders. I like having these bins under the beds because it makes our small space feel less cluttered.
- Wall Shelves: We have wall shelves all around the children's bedroom. These hold everything from books, artifacts, science projects, games, and puzzles.
- Over the Door Shoe Organizers: These are fantastic! Mason jars fit perfectly into them and Mason jars are great for holding buttons, beads, sand, googly eyes, and water beads. Apparently, these organizers are also great at holding shoes, ha!
Why We DON"T Need A School Room
Even though I WANT that big beautiful homeschool room, I know that we DON"T need it. We have 1 designated book shelf for homeschool and library books. Learning happens anywhere and everywhere. I hope to instill in our children that learning doesn't just happen in a classroom. While the bed and couch make great places to curl up and read so does the shade of an oak tree. We've even been known to go out to the fields and meadows to read aloud to the chickens and goats. We have the freedom to learn anywhere we want to go! Plus, the library is our #1 resource.
Our computer and Ipad help us homeschool in our cozy space. Our son is able to learn Spanish with Rosetta Stone, and take numerous online courses. Even his math is online. This is all made possible with the power of Wi-fi! and the Internet!
Like many homeschoolers the kitchen table is the center of our family life. You'll find this is the place for preparing and eating meals, sewing projects, art projects and sensory bins. Yet it isn't the only place we haunt. We prefer to Get Outside and Learn. Bottle rockets in the driveway, Solar Ovens on the front porch, or journaling on a nearby rock...we like to spend most of our day outside.
Whether we go to a local park, a nearby trail, or out to the pastures, there is so much to discover outside! The children love to explore!
More important than any book work are our children's experiences. Zoos, and Museums are rich in knowledge. Summer camps and Field Trips are wonderful at inspiring creativity and interests. The more I ponder, the more I realize that the "dream" homeschool room is fun to dream about, but it isn't a necessity or a requirement for having an enriching homeschool experience.
Do you have a school room? Or do you have to get creative like us?